Irvine tops league of fast-rising property price tags

THE coastal town of Irvine in Ayrshire has seen its property prices soar faster than anywhere in Scotland, according to new figures.

House prices per square metre there have more than doubled in the last five years, rocketing by 140 per cent.

Buyers paid on average 1,280 per sq metre in 2007 to secure a property in the town, compared to just 534 per sq metre in 2002.

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Bank of Scotland, which published the "House Price per Square Metre Survey", said many factors may be fuelling the town's popularity.

"It's seen by many as a very attractive place to live, as it is in a picturesque part of Ayrshire with improving commuting links to Glasgow, Kilmarnock and the rest of the central belt," said a spokesman. "It means it's attractive to young professionals and growing families who are maybe priced out of other parts of the market."

Aberdeen also saw a house-price boom, with prices soaring 134 per cent in five years.

As well as Irvine, prices in other small towns also more than doubled, with Kilmarnock seeing a 120 per cent rise to 1,340 per sq metre.

Edinburgh remains the most expensive place in Scotland, with property costing 2,448 per sq metre, despite a more modest price rise of 74 per cent. Musselburgh, Dalkeith and Inverurie are also in the top five dearest places to buy per sq metre.

Martin Ellis, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, said: "There has been a huge divergence in performance across Scotland over the past five years, ranging from a rise of 140 per cent in Irvine to 67 per cent in Hamilton.

"Despite that, there has been little change in the composition of those areas with the most and least expensive properties."